Afghan man kills 7 Taleban militants, injures 18 in daring escape after being taken hostage

KABUL (AFP) - An Afghan man taken hostage by the Taleban made a dramatic escape by stealing a gun while his captors were praying and shooting dead seven of them and wounding 18 others, officials said on Thursday (March 15).

Mr Awal Khan and a local police officer were kidnapped on Wednesday as they were driving in the eastern province of Paktika, provincial deputy security chief Abdul Rauf Masood said.

Paktika is a Taleban stronghold bordering Pakistan.

The officer was killed and 36-year-old Awal taken to a Taleban compound in Gomal district where he was held for hours.

During afternoon prayers, Mr Awal, who Mr Masood said was handcuffed at the time, grabbed a weapon belonging to one of his captors and opened fire.

"Awal Khan sprayed bullets on all of them, killing seven and wounding 18 others," provincial governor spokesman Mohammad Rahman Ayaz said.

Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that the group had kidnapped the two men and that Mr Awal had opened fire on the militants, killing three of them.

Mr Awal then fled in a pickup truck belonging to his kidnappers, Mr Ayaz said.

His brother, a local police commander, shared details of the incident with authorities.

The Taleban is often involved in kidnappings of Afghans and foreigners, sometimes holding people for years for prisoner exchanges.